Might Makes Right: The United States military is a brand that could do better by addressing the problems it solves. Granted, the military faces an uphill battle because so much of the media is anti military. However, in other countries the military is a strong brand with positive public and media portrayal. We’re not passionately positive about the military in this country; it often seems as if the only stories we read about in terms of the military in this country are controversies, scandals, or mistakes made. Yes, the press is predisposed to (and very good at) highlighting hot-button issues like gays in the military and purported abuses on the battlefield and in POW camps, but does the military try hard enough to counter what are largely negative reports? How many positive military stories do you remember reading about recently; how many can you recall seeing on the news? How many military figures can you name? Only a couple may come to mind. David Petraeus? Norman Schwartzkopf? Who else can you even think of in less than 15 seconds?
Ronn Torossian “For Immediate Release” Book Excerpt
The military solves a problem and provides a solution to our security. Promote that solution through real people with whom everyone can indentify. The American military is the people’s military. It’s Jessica from New Hampshire, John from Florida, David from Wisconsin. Put those people on television and let them talk to the media. When it’s Thanksgiving, offer stations across the U.S. interviews with local heroes.” Obviously the young soldiers who make up the rank-and-file troops can’t and shouldn’t talk policy. They can, however, have a conversation about why they enlisted and what they do for the United
States. Once real military men and women become familiar on a personal level, even the most hardened reporter can’t help but be empathetic. Such a campaign would show the military solving problems that go beyond war and conflict (they help poor people all over the world, rebuild infrastructure domestically and in foreign lands, etc.). It would promote the idea of the military as an organization of your peers, fellow citizens and neighbors. In this respect, identifying a problem your business or brand can solve can also improve public perception of your business. That’s a win-win.
Next time you’re tempted to believe your mother’s (or anyone else’s) PR about you—stop and think about it before swallowing it whole. As Leif Garrett, the singer and former teen idol, astutely remarked, “Don’t believe your own publicity. You can’t; you’ll start thinking that you’re better than you are.” (Proving that you don’t have to be a Shakespearean actor to call it like you see it.) Even if it all happens to be true, getting caught up in the thrill of it all means you’ve taken your eye off the ball.